As you know, I grew up "in the Marine Corps" and moved every three years. It's hard to call any one place home, but since my family moved to Chesapeake the summer before my senior year in high school (yes, I survived!), and I lived there for the next eleven years, I consider Hampton Roads home. And there isn't a dish that says Chesapeake like she-crab soup! I've served this as a meal on its own, along with a big green salad, or as a first course for Christmas dinner (served in china teacups, as pictured). It's elegant, super easy, and delicious!
1 pound quality crab meat, picked over for shells
4 cups seafood stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (about 3 leeks)
3 cloves chopped garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the cayenne and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a food processor (or blender) and process until coarsely pureed.
In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed leek mixture, crab, stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season to taste and serve hot.
May be made ahead!
May be made ahead!
|That's right! A SECOND feature at Miz Helen's!|